This year marked a major milestone for the 26-year-old. With the disappointment of Rio behind her – where Cate described one of her swims as “the greatest choke in Olympic history” – the Brisbane-native has been back to her resurgent best over the past 12 months, inspiring the nation with amazing (and world record-breaking) performances.
She shone at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April 2018 (taking home a total of 4 medals, including 2 individual gold and 1 relay gold). But that’s not all. She also set a world record in the process, swimming the fastest women’s freestyle relay split in history in a nail-biting 4 x 100m event, in a time of 51 seconds for the final leg. Then, at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo mid-August, she walked away with five gold medals (three individual and two team), to finish with the best individual haul at the championships, signalling to the world that she’s more than ready (both physically and mentally) in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics. Her win in the 100m freestyle in Tokyo, almost two years to the day since the heartbreak of Rio, was the final step in a process that has brought Campbell back to the pool refreshed, happy and with a renewed love for her sport.
As she said after that spine-tingling race, “Can I say that I’m proud of myself? I’m really proud. I’m really proud of the person I’ve become, and the athlete that I am. [As for pressure] I want to make sure I suck that up and I enjoy it because not many people get to experience this, and I have to remember how lucky I am.”
A huge congratulations to Cate and her incredible achievements in 2018 and beyond.